It was morning.
Daylight streamed from the wide glass pane windows and cut broad swathes over the bed, tinting wrinkled white sheets with a halo of gold. She stirred and rolled from one edge to the next, gathering the bedspread around her like the beginnings of a Boubou. Her feet sought and found the ground, took root and anchored the rest of her body. She got to her feet and looked around, taking in the generic homeyness of her surroundings, the hallmark of all hotel accommodations.
It was late morning.
The cleaning crew had already begun their duties in the suite. The three white and blue overall clad women silently hovered around the room; one disappeared into the kitchenette, another set up station in the broad expanse of the living room while the third made herself busy over the mantelpiece. She watched all this and slowly stepped away from the bed, tightening her hold on the sheet, making out of the room. At some point along the way the other two women must have looked up from their task, even for a surreptitious glance, but she paid them little heed, wading over the plush rugs like a star liner surrounded by little tugboats.
It was late morning and she was in a hotel suite. Her hands absently reached for the TV console remote as she sank unto a sofa. Her eyes caught the distinctive icon on the coffee table. The machine came to life and She was presently informed by a suite clad man that it was 11:45 am in the capital city and to stay tuned for the news bulletin by the hour. She turned the TV off and settled back into the couch.
It was late morning and She was in the presidential suite of the Hilton hotel in Abuja. A small smile formed on her face as she gazed into the ceiling, amidst the low hum of the vacuum cleaner from one of the rooms. It was all coming back to her now.
Oh…right. Yet another amusing game to play.
“Yes, yes everything is set on this end. My flight has been confirmed and I’ve already notified the bank…Kofi, we’ll discuss the rest face to face. I just need to tie up a few loose ends here…”
Mr. Ajibaje slipped the access key card into the reader with one hand while at the same time keeping an eye out around him for any shadows. The hotel guaranteed the security of its guests and this was not Lagos but you could never be too sure. These days one never knew who was watching one and those area boys have recently developed the nasty habit of trailing their quarry right from the door. He walked in and locked it behind him.
“Okay…thank you Kofi, by the grace of God we’ll see tomorrow.”
He cut the connection with a weary sigh and shook his head. His business partner meant well, that much he knew, but the other man often crossed the line between being a stickler and a nitpicker. Ajibaje relaxed his hold on the briefcase as he walked into the suite proper, his grumbling stomach a helpful reminder that he’d skipped breakfast in his haste to finalize all his plans in the Secretariat. He came abreast the living room and that was when he saw her. Sitting right across from the door. Waiting for him. Their eyes met and continued to hold.
She smiled and it sent a warm tingle down his spine. Ajibaje took a few steps closer, still not breaking the silent connection between them. She was parked like a royal cat on the sofa, the fluffy white hotel housecoat wrapping her body as though it was damask and not humble cotton. Her feet propped daintily over the coffee table, painted toes glittering like rubies in the afternoon sun.
“Welcome back, Chief.”
It wasn’t really a title but men who have reached a certain economic and social status such as he were favored by others with such epithets. Never before had Ajibaje felt honored than now, as those softly spoken words left her mouth. That smile was still in place; she still had him pinned by her light brown gaze. He licked his lips, throat suddenly dry despite the cups of tea he’d quaffed a mere half hour ago. She stretched to her feet with all the innocence of a kitten and walked to him, stopping only when they were nearly toe to toe. Ajibaje felt his breath hitch up and didn’t know why. All she did was lean closer to press a kiss to his cheek. She moved away, holding the briefcase he couldn’t remember handing over. A bead of sweat rolled down his back. It was too warm in his agbada.
She walked into the bedroom and he followed, eyes taking in the unhurried ‘X’ her legs made with each step, one directly in front of the other, giving him a teasing view of her bouncy behind. They crossed the threshold and she set her load beside the bed before turning back to him.
“Let me help you out of that.”
Ajibaje obediently shrugged out of the agbada, revealing the plain cream buba and trousers beneath. Her hands made slow circles over his chest and shoulders; her eyes moved up and down his person, taking him in bit by slow bit and all the while, she continued to bless him with that dimpled smile.
“I woke up and you were gone.”
He put his arms around her waist and cleared his throat. “Sorry, I had to take care of a few things. Did you sleep well?”
She made a sound of assent, popping open the metallic buttons on the shirt. “Yes, very. But I would have liked to wake up next to you.” A small pout threatened to kill the smile and he quickly intervened.
“Tomorrow morning then.”
She began walking backward toward the bed and Ajibaje followed, yielding to the gentle tug on his shirt. Her back hit the now pristine sheets and she pulled him even closer; he steadied himself on his hands and elbows as her arms wrapped around his neck and she arched up to give him a slow kiss.
Time stood still.
Ajibaje eventually became aware of the fact that he was breathless. She was making him breathless. It didn’t matter. The housecoat now hung loosely over her shoulders and he nudged it aside, staring unabashedly at the perfect form it vainly tried to hide. It didn’t matter, she let him look.
She was fair, the kind that could never be achieved from any cream or lotion, a uniform shade from the tip of her scalp to the spaces between her toes. Fair like…like the inside of a paw paw, he finally decided, fingers stroking over her side. A soft, ripe and luscious paw paw. And her hair…he reached over and pulled a few strands loose. Her hair was thick and a glossy black, far longer than he thought possible on an African.
Her smile widened in the face of his admiration, revealing gleaming white teeth.
“Do you like what you see?”
He chuckled and nodded. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the hollow of her neck, and another between her full breasts. Perhaps he would have said more if his cell phone had not broken the moment. He twisted around to the agbada pooling on the floor. Where was that phone?
“Hello? Oh…it’s you.”
Ajibaje cast his gaze to the ceiling in exasperation. “Yes I told you I won’t be around nah. Look if you need money for foodstuff just go to the back first thing tomorrow —what do you mean when will I be back? I’ll be back when I’m back.” He shut off the device and flung it aside with a growl before turning back to her.
She was now lying primly on the other side of the bed, housecoat sash firmly tried around her waist. He stifled his brief regret and sat back against the headboard.
“I’ll be flying out tomorrow…”
She raised a slight eyebrow but her eyes only showed mild interest. That niggled him for some reason and he turned to her.
“I have to take care of something in Ghana.”
Her attention moved away from him to the sliding doors to her left. “Okay then…” Her words seemed a casual dismissal.
“Come with me.”
She turned back and cocked her head slightly. “Is that what you want?”
It seemed a silly question, considering, but her expression was curiously serious. Their eyes met for a moment.
“Well yes of course, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you.”
She peered at him from between lowered lashes, measuring him up from behind an easy smile. Satisfied, she nodded and moved closer. “Alright then, I’m coming with you.”
Ajibaje laughed and shook his head. These young girls nowadays, always acting like queens.
“But, seeing as you swept me up here last night and I have no other clothes…”
“Okay okay, we’ll go shopping then.”
That seemed to appease her; the smile returned and she crawled on top of him. “You see I’m naked before you…you’ll have to cater to me.”
Ajibaje rolled his eyes; such melodrama. “Yes, I’ll take care of you.”
The Night Before:
Ajibaje nursed the glass of Hennessey in his hand as he navigated the room. Music blared from all corners and he found himself unconsciously jiggling his foot to the catchy beat currently being played. It was one of those popular songs from one of those young boys who fancied themselves American Dee Jays.
He acknowledged a nod from a familiar figure– an assistant director of budgeting and finance at a federal ministry during working hours. Right now the assistant director was juggling two different girls on either lap, his clothes hopelessly tangled amidst miniskirts and stilettos. Ajibaje passed on by with a good natured smile. Just ahead there was another notable permanent secretary, one who had given him a note just the week before…and over there was their gracious host, Hon. Ekanem.
The senator was famous for his little ‘get togethers’ and the kind of quality entertainment provided. Entertainment tonight probably came curtsy of the University of Abuja, he mused, surveying the girls gyrating on the dance floor. Ah well, who was he to judge? They call came here for the same reason.
The senator had invited him over the phone for a bit of celebration for the successful conclusion of another lucrative contract, right after receiving his own share of the booty. Government contractors like Ajibaje depended on higher ups to grease the oils of the bureaucracy, and things were good as long as they didn’t forget to pay the piper. The senator caught his gaze as the latter was being urged out of the gathering to somewhere more private and paused to clap him on the shoulder.
“Ah my friend Ajibaje, aren’t you enjoying the party? I don’t see any of these pretty young things around you…” The words had a slight slur and he noticed the senator leaned heavily on his date. “Go on my man, the bar is open and…and so are they.”
They shuffled off after that. The man was right. He downed the rest of his glass in one gulp and began looking around. There were a lot of pretty young girls here. All prepaid and available….
One of them was sitting just to his left; he gave her a glance and did a double take. The men around him must either be very blind or he was just that lucky. There were a lot of pretty girls here but she was easily the most beautiful. And she was alone. Ajibaje’s feet were moving before he knew it. The distance between them closed and she looked up with his approach.
She smiled to reveal deep dimples and he was instantly charmed.
“Why are you sitting here by yourself?
She shrugged lightly as he sank heavily on the couch next to her. “I was waiting…”
Ajibaje raised an eyebrow. “Waiting for what?”
Her eyes were very light brown, and his first thought was that she was the child of a mulatto. They licked up and down his body.
“Waiting for the right man.”
He laughed out loud and set his glass down. “You’re a funny girl. I’m Chief Ajibaje, what is your name?”
Ajibaje wasn’t sure he heard properly. “Did you say Lucky?”
“No Chief, just Luck.” she giggled and leaned closer. “And you’re about to be in luck tonight.”
That had to be an alias; many of these girls always disguised their names when they were out in town. Nothing to hold against her, he thought. He surveyed her and she preened for him. Ajibaje decided there had to be some White blood in her, only that could account for her complexion. She was pert and curvy in all the right places. Well fed and healthy, probably the spoiled daughter of a rich man looking for some extra pocket money.
Luck met his assessing gaze with a bold stare of her own. Ajibaje almost squirmed under the scrutiny, suddenly glad that he hadn’t yet developed a paunch like many of his middle aged contemporaries in the room. Of course women called him handsome, flattery he absently accepted. The one thing he was proud about was his impressive height, he stood head and shoulders taller than most men. In the business world, an imposing stature sometimes added the extra force to your personality. It didn’t hurt your game in town either.
Ajibaje took her hand and got to his feet. “Alright Lady Luck, let’s go talk somewhere more private hmm?”
She stood as well and he was startled to find she reached his jaw. Her smile was dazzling. “Yes chief, I’d like to talk more with you.”
(“The events depicted in this story are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.”)